Before the New Year, the Delaware River Port Authority removed the flex posts from the 5th Street Tunnel, which connects Old City to Spring Garden Street.
The posts, according to the DRPA, were removed for the winter due to snow plowing concerns. As we understand it, the DRPA, who maintain the tunnel, were worried about plowing both the motor vehicle lane and the bicycle lane during a potential snowstorm.
The DRPA does not have a separate, smaller snow plow for getting into the bike lane — so, there was no viable option for plowing the bike lane in case of snow.
Bicycle Coalition Research Director John Boyle serves as head of the DRPA’s Citizen’s Advisory Board and will be bringing up the issue of purchasing a small bike lane plow in the next meeting.
We are assured, however, that the flex-posts will go back up in the spring.
None of this is ideal — let’s face it, it sucks — but often happens for cities just getting started on protected bike lanes go through their first winter without a small plow.
UPDATE 1/9: Ridiculously, although the flex-posts were removed, the bike lane was still not plowed.
We are trying to figure out why this has happened and make sure that it does not happen again. Keeping the bike lane covered in snow creates an even more dangerous route than simply removing the posts does. For the time being, we do not recommend any cyclist ride the tunnel. If you are looking for a personal response from the DRPA, you can tweet at them. Or, email firstname.lastname@example.org to join us at their Citizen’s Advisory Board meeting on Wednesday evening.